Ethical Problems in Product Strategy


Product quality, planned obsolescence, brand similarity, and packaging questions are significant concerns of consumers, managers, and governments. Competitive pressures have forced some marketers into packaging practices that may be considered misleading, deceptive, and/or unethical. Some firms make package larger than necessary to gain shelf space and consumer exposure in the supermarket. Odd-sized packages make price comparisons difficult. The real question seems to be whether these practices can be justified in the name of competition. Growing regulatory mandates appear to be narrowing the range of discretion in this area.

Product testing is another area that raises ethical concerns. To help assure consumers of product quality, many companies use seals of approval for their goods and services. Recently however consumers have begun to question whether the use of these seals is ethical, since they have to be purchased at fees ranging from $10,000 to $1 million. The seals also do not promise that the product is the best one on the market. Many of the organizations that offer seals of approval do not conduct product testing themselves or even compare brands.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

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Convenience Stores


Convenience stores are actually mini supermarkets. They carry many of the same food and nonfood items that are sold in supermarkets, but they offer a limited selection of brands. The products are normally packaged in small sizes, to allow shelf space for other items. Convenience stores do not have meat or fresh produce departments. One of the most significant changes in convenience stores has been the addition of gasoline.

Since convenience store prices on non-gasoline items are typically higher than supermarket prices, we should ask why people shop at them. Many shoppers tolerate the higher prices because the total of their convenience store purchases is quite small. They are willing to pay a little extra for the convenience of being able to make purchases quickly and easily. Consumers recognize that they are paying a little more for these products than they would at a supermarket. But most people are not willing to invest the extra time and effort to go to the supermarket to save a few cents on one or two items. In effect, the convenience store retailer charges the consumer a premium for this time savings.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Managing Inventory


Inventory is an area where financial managers can fine-tune the firm’s cash-flow. Inventory sitting on the shelf represents capital that is tied up without earning interest. Furthermore, the firm incurs expenses for shortage and handling, insurance, and taxes. And there is always a risk that the inventory will become obsolete before it can be converted into finished goods and sold.

The firm’s goal is to maintain enough inventory to fill orders in a timely fashion at the lowest cost. To achieve this goal, the financial manager tries to determine the economic order quantity or quantity of raw materials that, when ordered regularly, results in the lowest ordering and storage costs. The problem is complicated by the fact that minimizing ordering costs tends  to increase storage costs and vice versa. The best way to cut ordering costs is to place one big order for parts and materials once a year, while the best way to cut storage costs is to order small amounts of inventory frequently. The challenge facing the financial manager is to find a compromise that minimizes total costs.

That is why many businesses today are turning to just-in-time inventory control. Businesses—and even divisions within companies—link up through computers with their customers and suppliers, thereby automatically ordering only as much as is necessary for a given period of time.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Improving your Planning Skills


All too often, managers develop elaborate plans only to have them collect dust on a shelf or in a file drawer. To be an effective management tool, a plan must be continually monitored and updated. Your goals and objectives must be a part of your monthly, weekly, and daily plans or they will become victims of the daily crises and interruptions that inevitably fight for your time. It’s important to spend some time every day working toward accomplishing your goals.

Evaluate and update your plan on a regular basis. If your plan is detailed and specific, it should be quite simple to manage by:

  • Using target dates for various phases of the project. Be sure that expectations, latitude, and due dates are clear and agreed upon with others.
  • Delegating responsibility (and appropriate decision-making authority) to the right person or people.
  • Requesting status reports from your employees on their progress toward goals.
  • Monitoring and following up on progress. By documenting performance against your plans (for example, budgeted vs. actual labor) you will be better able to evaluate results and develop realistic plans for future projects.
  • Intervening and adjusting plans when necessary.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.